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When it’s OK to complete two advancement requirements with one activity

Double Dipping: Two requirements, one activity? Here’s when that’s OK.

To earn the Eagle Scout Award, a Boy Scout must complete dozens of requirements over a period of several years. Not surprisingly, many of those requirements cover similar topics, such as camping and first aid, which raises questions about when and whether to let one activity satisfy more than one requirement.

Is it permissible to give dual credit for a single activity?

Yes, if the two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent. A good example involves First Class requirement 1a (“participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities”) and Camping merit badge requirement 9a (“camp a total of at least 20 nights”). Nights spent on troop campouts might count toward both requirements, so long as other parts of each requirement are met. (For example, noncamping activities can count for up to four of the First Class activities, but not for the merit badge activities.)

What about the first-aid requirements in most merit badges?

A merit-badge counselor doesn’t need to reteach the basics of first aid. However, he or she should be satisfied that the Scout remembers what he learned from previous experience. Also keep in mind that the requirements are rarely identical. For example, requirement 1b of the Water Sports merit badge focuses on hazards like hypothermia, sunburn and concussions, while requirement 1b of Welding talks about risks like electric shock, eye injuries and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Can a single city council meeting count for both the Citizenship in the Community and the Communication merit badges?

It can, but remember that the Scout must do more than simply attend the meeting. For Communication, he is asked to practice active listening skills during the meeting and present an objective report that includes all points of view. For Citizenship in the Community, he is asked to examine differences in opinions and then to defend one side.

What about service hours?

In some cases, the requirements are clear. For example, Life requirement 4 clearly states a Scout must complete at least three hours of conservation-related service while a Star Scout (out of a total of six hours). There’s no prohibition on applying those same hours to requirement 7 of the Soil and Water Conservation merit badge.

How does dual credit work when a Boy Scout is also a Venturer?

With the exception of the Eagle, Quartermaster and Summit Award service projects, any work done while a Venturer or Sea Scout can count toward both Boy Scout and Venturing or Sea Scout advancement at the same time. The Eagle, Quartermaster and Summit Award projects must be separate and distinct from one another.

Can two Boy Scouts get credit for planning and leading a single Eagle Scout service project?

No. Eagle Scout service projects are individual matters, and no more than one candidate may receive credit for working on the same project. With that said, two Scouts could complete complementary projects benefiting a single beneficiary. Also, Scouts who participate in but don’t lead an Eagle project can count their service hours toward other ranks.

For more on this topic, see section of the Guide to Advancement.